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Old 28-06-2015, 13:02   #1
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220 vs 110 Volts...

We are getting ready to cross the Atlantic and cruise the MED... Our catamaran is wired 110Volts. I would need to figure-out how to plug to docks in Europe and have access to 2000Watts on my 110 Volt system to operate the standard equipment on board... Prosine 2000 charger inverter amongst others... Anyone with experience on what to buy? We should be there for 2 seasons, so I do not want to install anything prermanent...
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Old 28-06-2015, 14:19   #2
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

What standard 110V equipment do you have on board?
I'm 100% 12V except for one power socket, the electric side of the calorifier, and what comes out of my inverter.
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Old 28-06-2015, 14:35   #3
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Converting from 220v to 110v is pretty simple. Look into an isolation transformer which will do the trick and has other benefits as well.

However, your biggest problem is going to be the frequency of power in Europe. They operate on 50hz while American style power is 60hz. The equipment on your boat needs to be able to operate at both 50 and 60hz, or you need to get a frequency converter, which are very expensive and typically very heavy.

Another alternative would be to use a generator when you need to run equipment that won't work on 50hz.

That's about all I've got.
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Old 28-06-2015, 16:20   #4
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Install a large 230v charger, and run all your gear off the inverter.

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Old 29-06-2015, 10:16   #5
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Ditto what Dock head wrote. That's what we do. Works fine. Most of the time we run off the generator while anchoring.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:28   #6
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Although 230 volt, 50Hz single phase is the norm in Europe, it is mandated by law that construction sites shall use 110 volt supplies for power tools on site.
Accordingly 230/110 transformers are widely available.
50/60Hz frequency is not an issue anymore.
If you are not already wired to European safety standards for 230 volt supply, you should install a Residual Current Device (RCD circuit breaker) , which will trip on ground fault.

Search ebay for 110 volt isolation transformers.

This link looks promising. It is the first link that I found, and I have no connection with them.
110v transformers,110 volt transformers,Transformers,110v transformers,site transformers.knighton tools


1000 VA Tool Transformer 1 x 16 A ALL IN STOCK Ref: P10/1
1.0kVA portable tool transformer. Made to comply with reduced low voltage regulations ensuring safe electrical supplies on site. Reinforced IP44 GRP portable case c/w carry handle
* Double-wound design for mains isolation
* Insulated splash proof GRP portable case (IP44)
* 110v centre tapped to earth (cte) secondary winding to reduce the risk of shocks
* 2m Input flex (1.5mm HO7 RNF) fitted with moulded 13A 3pin plug (BS1363)
* Input thermal magnetic trip (hand resettable) reducing the chance of overload
* 1 x output 16A 3pin socket (BSEN 60309)
* Manufactured to BSEN 61558
* Power = 1000VA
* Duty = Intermittent
* Input voltage = 230vac 1ph
* Output voltage = 110vac 1ph
* Socket = 1 x 16A 3pin
* Dimensions (mm) = H: 220, W: 180, D: 222
* Weight (kg) = 12.5
ALL IN STOCK


Price:48.55 (58.26 Including VAT at 20%)


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Old 29-06-2015, 17:59   #7
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

alphabravo,
There are a few definitive pages and discussions on this veru subject, and I will post direct links to these below....

You haven't described what "standard equipment" you have on-board that require 110vac power?? So, none of us can be too specific....(and you didn't mention when you were leaving....this next week??? or next summer??? It makes a difference to what we can recommend / what you'll have time to do....Btw, you CAN sail east-bound across the Atlantic in late-June and July...I've done it!)

{On my boat it is Air Conditioning and hot water heating....everything else is 12vdc, and is run from solar charged main battery bank...(also have hi-output alt. on the main engine, a towed-water-generator, and a 6kw diesel-genset...)}




Before you get to the links below, here are some brief answers...


As others have mentioned, you have a few different choices/paths to consider...
a) use lots of unshaded solar, and run everything (except for heater, air cond. and hot water heater), off 12vdc....

b) do as in "a" above, but supplement this with a 230vac battery charger, run off of UK/EU shore power....

c) do as in "a" and/or "b" above, and buy 230vac UK/EU appliances as need...such as space heaters for wintering-over on-board, toaster/toaster-oven, coffee maker, TV/DVD player, etc...

[With "b" and "c" above, some just run the 230vac shore power to a UK/EU 230vac "power strip", and run these appliances thru this...
Others (such as in "d" below, etc.) go further, and disconnect the 110vac wiring on the inside of their boat's shore power receptacle, and connect some new 230vac wiring that they run to new 230vac outlets on-board to allow easier (and safer?) connection of 230vac appliances...]

d) do as in "a" above (and even some of "b" and "c"), but also use a 230vac to 115vac transformer....many times referred to as an "isolation transformer", but more precisely called a "step-down, isolation transformer"....

- Some decide on a permanently-installed transformer, the most expensive approach, but great for the world cruiser that will be wintering-over in various locations/marinas...



- Some use a non-permanently-installed, heavy-duty commercial/marine transformer...(this is what I did)

- Some use a "portable construction site tool" transformer...but be aware that these are NOT rated for continuous-duty, and as such cannot be used up their "ratings" for your on-board applications...and are rather expensive if bought in the Azores, etc...



Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabravo2 View Post
We are getting ready to cross the Atlantic and cruise the MED... Our catamaran is wired 110Volts. I would need to figure-out how to plug to docks in Europe and have access to 2000Watts on my 110 Volt system to operate the standard equipment on board... Prosine 2000 charger inverter amongst others... Anyone with experience on what to buy? We should be there for 2 seasons, so I do not want to install anything prermanent...
Alphabravo, please tell us what "standard equipment" you have on-board that requires 110vac to run....
(I assume Air Cond and hot water heater??)


For a GREAT discussion and other links, have a look here...
Isolation transformer

Here are photos of my 5000-watt non-permanent heavy-duty (and HEAVY) transformer, and my shore power set-up...
Showing my 230vac shore-power from the dock in Gibraltar, to my transformer in the cockpit, and then to my two 110vac shore-power receptacles.....(note that my transformer is a multi-tap transformer, so that the "input" can be adjusted to always supply 117-125vac, with input voltages of 200-220, 220-240, 240-260...)



I spent just $250 on a 5000 watt (~ 4000watt continuous) multi-tap 220vac to 110vac transformer.....(my transformer can accept voltages from 95-100 volts up to 260-270 volts, and output 115-125vac and/or 230-250.....which means I can take 220-240vac from an EU dock power outlet and input 120-125vac to my boat...no power sags, etc....)

I made up an 85' length of 12/3 power cord, with an EU connector on one end, and a standard US 125v/30amp female connector on the other end (which mates with the US 125v/30amp male connector I wired to the transformer input), which allows me to easily add extra lengths of shore power cord if necessary by simply using my standard US 125v/30amp shore power cords.....
On the transformer output, I have another of my custom cords, which allows me to plug-in both of my shore outlets on the stern of my boat....

I bought this transformer and rigged all the cords, etc. here in Florida, before I sailed to Europe.....and all I needed when I arrived was the 220vac EU dockside plug(s)....bought one (16amp) in Horta, Azores....and another (32amp) in Gibraltar....and I had AC power on-board, lickedy-split....





Here are some other links...

Jack Tyler's excellent treatise on preparing the US/CA boat for European cruising....especially the "230vac" shore power conundrum...
European Power Onboard


A great SSCA discussion on this subject...
Isolation transformer


A discussion here on Cruiser's Forum...
110vac to 220vac Conversion Revisited




I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 29-06-2015, 19:42   #8
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabravo2 View Post
We are getting ready to cross the Atlantic and cruise the MED... Our catamaran is wired 110Volts. I would need to figure-out how to plug to docks in Europe and have access to 2000Watts on my 110 Volt system to operate the standard equipment on board... Prosine 2000 charger inverter amongst others... Anyone with experience on what to buy? We should be there for 2 seasons, so I do not want to install anything prermanent...
We are all 110 on board but our primary shore power is 220. It was done using an isolation transformer. The 220 shore power is wired to the 220 primary coil. The secondary is two balanced 110 volt legs. Each leg is wired to a different 110 buss just like in a home. Since the shore power is isolated from the 110, there are no issues with accelerated galvanic cells at the dock. You might consider this. The Transformer is a 100 # brick of copper about 10 inches on a side.

If we encounter a marina with only 110, We have a combiner (Hubbell) that plugs into two 110 outlets. Most properly wired dock power stations are 220 split to two 110 outlets. If done by a pro, the phases will be correct. Our combiner checks & combines only if its OK.
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Old 29-06-2015, 20:32   #9
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kish View Post
...
50/60Hz frequency is not an issue anymore. ...
Couldn't leave this one alone. It depends. Computer power supplies, most lighting and heating, probably true. But is this modern era things like microwaves, air conditioning, clothes washers, etc. have become "standard" on many boats, and these are the kinds of things where frequency may matter. If all you have is basic equipment then you're probably fine, but if you have any appliances (and particularly ones with motors) then you'll need to do a little homework to determine whether or not they will be happy at the "wrong" frequency. Some will be and some won't.

There is less risk going from 50Hz to 60Hz, but when going from 60Hz to 50Hz there is a significant risk with any synchronous motor, as the V/Hz goes up by 20%, which in motors not specifically designed for such use will lead to magnetic saturation, and when that happens the ability of the motor to limit current (via reactance) will drop to almost nothing, and then you have a very large and very hot heater in a place where it shouldn't be. In addition, most motors have cooling fans, and running those fans at 20% lower speed means you just cut the cooling capacity, at the very time you increased the heat load. Proceed with caution with any equipment containing rotating equipment.
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Old 29-06-2015, 20:36   #10
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
What standard 110V equipment do you have on board?
I'm 100% 12V except for one power socket, the electric side of the calorifier, and what comes out of my inverter.
+1

We hardly use our inverter now. 12V avoids the losses in dc to ac conversion.

Use a transformer to allow ac to ac conversion from 220 - 240 down to 110V. This will also provide isolation from any dodgy shore power connections.

Very costly to convert to 220V and be euro compliant.

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Old 29-06-2015, 20:42   #11
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

I think Mastervolt has good products. You need to make sure you consider the possible electrolysis due to changes in your shore power system.
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Old 29-06-2015, 21:43   #12
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

This has been covered a lot in the forum, but allow me to give a good friend a punt.

Eric runs a one man show based at the Alcaidesa Marina, just across the border from Gribraltar. It is called Gateway Nautica. He helps US boats arriving in the EU all the time, and its much cheaper than in the Azores. gatewaynautica.com He is an honest guy.
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Old 30-06-2015, 03:36   #13
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

QUESTION: 220 vs 110 Volts...
We are getting ready to cross the Atlantic and cruise the MED... Our catamaran is wired 110Volts. I would need to figure-out how to plug to docks in Europe and have access to 2000Watts on my 110 Volt system to operate the standard equipment on board... Prosine 2000 charger inverter amongst others... Anyone with experience on what to buy? We should be there for 2 seasons, so I do not want to install anything prermanent...
COMMENTS: I suggest having your system converted to 220 here in the Med. We had electricians try in Grenada and BVI but they were "unsuccessful" at best. Upon arrival in Jeselo, Italy, we had the work done by vidotto.impianti who is the best and fastest marine electrician I have ever seen! We now have 220, use a military plug in to 220 socket to convert to 110 when we need it and have 12 v recepticals too. Our solar panels run everything 6-7 months out of the year then sun dips too low. Various docks in various countries here in Europe use various plugs and hunting them down is a challenge. Heading to Albania in August and no telling what they use for power adaptors for shore connections. Good news is our Italian plugs/cables work in Croatia and Montenegro. We are very happy with our 220 arrangement and agree that Mastervolt is superior to other devices mentioned. JT on the Sara II, Nauticat 38, Jeselo, Italy
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Old 30-06-2015, 04:38   #14
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimtaylorofkw View Post
QUESTION: 220 vs 110 Volts...
We are getting ready to cross the Atlantic and cruise the MED... Our catamaran is wired 110Volts. I would need to figure-out how to plug to docks in Europe and have access to 2000Watts on my 110 Volt system to operate the standard equipment on board... Prosine 2000 charger inverter amongst others... Anyone with experience on what to buy? We should be there for 2 seasons, so I do not want to install anything prermanent...
COMMENTS: I suggest having your system converted to 220 here in the Med. We had electricians try in Grenada and BVI but they were "unsuccessful" at best. Upon arrival in Jeselo, Italy, we had the work done by vidotto.impianti who is the best and fastest marine electrician I have ever seen! We now have 220, use a military plug in to 220 socket to convert to 110 when we need it and have 12 v recepticals too. Our solar panels run everything 6-7 months out of the year then sun dips too low. Various docks in various countries here in Europe use various plugs and hunting them down is a challenge. Heading to Albania in August and no telling what they use for power adaptors for shore connections. Good news is our Italian plugs/cables work in Croatia and Montenegro. We are very happy with our 220 arrangement and agree that Mastervolt is superior to other devices mentioned. JT on the Sara II, Nauticat 38, Jeselo, Italy
You'll need a separate charger and inverter, if you want to consume on board different power from what you get from shore power.

As others have suggested, you can change the voltage with an isolation transformer -- I have one of these. But as Dsanduril has pointed out, voltage is not enough.

So if you want to run a 110 volt boat in a 230v world, just add a separate 230v charger of sufficient capacity, to run a 110v inverter (or your regular charger inverter if you have one) of sufficient capacity, and Bob's your mother's brother.

Just make sure the shore power inlet is fully and totally separated from the AC power system on board. this is complicated enough that a pro electrician might not be a bad idea.

We are a 230v boat with a lot of 230v gear on board (washer/dryer, microwave, electronics, vacuum, galley appliances, etc., etc., etc.). I have a Victron charger/inverter which will run more or less everything which needs to be run at once, and a heavy duty 230v generator (6.5kW). And a decent battery bank, charged from a big alternator as well as the genset.

This is a self-sufficient world which exists just fine without any shore power at all. If I were cruising in 110v land, I would simply add a separate 110v charger to use shore power now and then when it's available, via my batteries and the inverter.

Converting to 230v is also a variant -- the wiring will be ok since 230 gives half the amperage. You'll need an RCD and careful check for compliance. And 230v is superior. But are you able to change all your gear to 230v? If you're only going for a couple of years, and/or you have much stuff which is built-in (as we do), this might not be realistic.
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Old 30-06-2015, 04:53   #15
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Re: 220 vs 110 Volts...

If you have negligible power needs, the 12v option is fine. If you have more typical modern electrical needs, it starts to be limiting.


If the plan is only 2 seasons and then you leave, I wouldn't do a full conversion as you will need to do a full conversion back when you are done. (if it was 5-10yrs planned it starts to make sense to switch everything to 220-50).


I would look into the 220-50 battery charger with a 110-60 inverter both large enough to cover your needs as the simplest option.
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